Invasive Lizard ‘Around 5 Feet Long’ Spotted Off Road in Florida

Invasive Lizard ‘Around 5 Feet Long’ Spotted Off Road in Florida

A video of the massive reptile has since gone viral on Facebook

A five-foot-long lizard was seen in North Port, Florida, casually walking along a busy road earlier this month in a now-viral video.

The Miami Herald reported that the lizard, which is presumably an Asian water monitor, is an invasive species. They are typically between four and six feet long, but can grow up to 10 feet in length.

The video was captured by Renee Aland along Hillsborough Boulevard during a drive with her daughter, Zoey Marzonie. She shared her videos and photos of the encounter on Facebook on May 20, writing that she “did a double take” while driving and reported the sighting with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

<p>Renee Aland/TMX</p> An invasive lizard spotted alongside a Florida road

Renee Aland/TMX

An invasive lizard spotted alongside a Florida road

Related: Invasive Dog-Sized Lizards Are Spreading Across the Southeastern United States

“This Asian Water Moniter was around 5ft long…  I had been sitting there waiting to see it again as they wouldn’t even make a report without photographic proof,” Aland wrote online. “It was seen coming out of the woods near the canal on Hillsboro Blvd behind the Kia dealership and just south of Bamboo rd.”

“He’s just, like, strutting across the road,” Aland says in one Facebook video. She can also be heard telling her teenage daughter to stay in the car after she asks to get closer to the lizard.

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Aland tells PEOPLE that she thought her “eyes were playing tricks” on her when first she saw the giant lizard, so she pulled over and watched the brush in her rear view mirror to try and spot it again.

She calls trying to get proof to send the FFWCC “an exercise in futility” and was “kind of shocked” when the reptile finally emerged again for her video.

<p>Renee Aland/TMX</p> Another shot of the lizard

Renee Aland/TMX

Another shot of the lizard

Aland also noticed that the semi-aquatic lizard wasn’t a stranger to crossing busy roads. “I was a little taken aback at how many times it attempted to cross the street and turned around,” she said to McClatchy News, adding that the animal “would do some damage” to a car.

FFWCC officials told McClatchy News that they “believe it to be an Asian water monitor (Varanus salvator) but are unable to definitively confirm identification based off the video that was sent to us.” However, their team of biologists are monitoring sightings of this animal to “determine potential response efforts.”

Related: Georgia Officials Are Trying to Stop Harmful, Invasive Lizards That Can Grow Up to 4 Feet Long

If you’re ever to encounter an Asian water monitor lizard, the FFWCC encourages people to report it to the invasive species hotline and call 888-IVE-GOT1.

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